Posted by davidjbod on February 29, 2012
So what do you do if you need to split a piece of wood that is too big to go through your bandsaw? You could saw it with a hand saw but, as Roy Underhill would tell you, you can split the wood along the grain. Let’s say you have a block of wood you’ve savaged with a chainsaw like the one below. The first thing to do is scribe a line you’d like to split it at.
Using a ax or chisel start breaking away wood from the edge. I placed my ax where I wanted to split the wood and hit the back of it with a wooden mallet. Never use a metal hammer that is of the same hardness or harder than your ax or you’ll tear up the ax’s poll (back side).
If the ax is too blunt you might have to use a large chisel to get a crack started and then finish splitting with your ax.
Keep splitting pieces off until you get close to your line. Then work up and down the line splitting it a little bit at a time. Once a good split is established you can go ahead and drive the ax through.
When you’re done, you have a surface you can clean up with a plane.
If you know your old tools you’re probably asking “Why not use a froe?” That’s because I don’t have one. The froe is an older tool specifically designed to splitting wood along the grain. You hammer it in and then rotate it to split the wood. Yes, finding one is on the list.